#WIISER Spotlight | Dr. Susmita Roy: On acquiring sophisticated computational tools

Dr. Susmita Roy is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical sciences, IISER Kolkata. In this electronic interview, she speaks about how simple curiosity led her to choose scientific research as a way of life and other guiding philosophies that have helped her traverse this journey so far.

#WIISER Spotlight | Dr. Neelanjana Sengupta: Probing into life, with computational tools

Dr. Neelanjana Sengupta is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Science at IISER Kolkata. In this electronic interview, she talks about the stereotypes pertaining to girls doing physical and mathematical sciences and how she managed to break free from them.

Samsung’s NEON as a step towards an AI-assisted world

We all have read books or seen movies depicting a futuristic world with flying cars and personal AI assistants, a post-apocalyptic era where the earth as we know it has been completely transformed into a dystopian tech trash planet. One cannot say much about the flying cars or tech trash world yet, but in an attempt to make science fiction a reality, Samsung’s future factory STAR labs have developed Neon, AI-powered virtual beings that not only look like real humans but also behave like them with emotions and intelligence.

Magnetic Monopoles - Missing Piece of the Symmetry

This article encompasses a brief about magnetic monopoles & reflects upon how their existence has been predicted, but they haven't been directly observed. It also talks about why we believe they exist, how they are envisioned, how they fit into the larger framework of science, the challenges in finding them & the efforts taken by scientists to observe them.

Heavy metal pollution from road dust is a potential health risk: Warns study

The article illustrates how heavy metal pollution in a developing country like ours severely affects the health of its residents. It is based on a recently published study carried out in Kolkata by a research group in IISER Kolkata’s Department of Earth Science.

It’s no Secretary, it's the Boss!

Imagine an eagle, but with the legs of a crane and eyelashes to die for! Confused? This is a short article on the Secretary bird, which unfortunately might disappear from the wilderness even before many have heard of it.

An evolutionary perspective of the COVID19 pandemic

Is COVID-19 just one on the list of viral outbreaks that have come and gone? Or is there something at the genetic level of this virus, making this battle more difficult than the others. This article looks at the constant struggle between species, forcing them to evolve, adapt and overcome, and how it played out last year between Homo sapiens and SARS-CoV-2.

Limlo & Noi - Ant Mind

Vaccines: A review of their structure and function

“The COVID-19 vaccine” - the silver bullet we were all eagerly waiting for and perhaps the phrase in which we hear the term “vaccine” most frequently these days. With all the discussions buzzing around, ranging from scientific, to political debates about this, let us take a quick look at what vaccines are, how they work, and their importance in our lives.

#WIISER Spotlight | Dr. Koel Das: Into thoughts and beyond

Dr. Koel Das is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, at IISER Kolkata. In this electronic interview, she talks about her transition from an engineering background into academic research and her views on gender-balance renewal in research fields.

Science: Communicating, Educating and all that Jazz!

In this piece the author looks back on the ills of misinformation and lack of scientific thought prevalent in modern society and tries to chart a way out of this situation. The path, suggested by the author, lies in undertaking programmes of science communication across all boards and inculcation of scientific discipline from an early age even in the household. In summary, it aims to set up a system of science education that takes a holistic approach to science outside classrooms.

Combatting the crown: Strategies for coronavirus vaccines

Our fight against the COVID19 pandemic began simultaneously with it's onset. While earlier strategies were curative in nature, research has now moved on to preventive measures and multiple vaccines are being developed across the globe. This article discusses the science behind these vaccines and how they function.

Dr. Kamala Sohonie : Breaking the barriers in the history of Indian Science

This article is about the first female Ph.D from India. The story unfolds her struggles and achievements. This is one of the earliest stories of breaking gender disparity in the scientific community of India.

Scientists Investigate Correlation Between Personality and Cognitive Ability in Wild ZebraFish

The correlation between cognition and personality in an individual is still a murky one, and holds the key to many important questions in evolutionary biology. This article briefly discusses some of the latest findings concerning this correlation by using the zebrafish as a model organism.

Volcanic Lightning

Lightning strikes can be frightening and incredibly gorgeous at the same time. When a volcano erupts, and you look within the cloud of ash, if you are lucky, you might witness a flash of one of the most beautiful displays of light – a volcanic lightning! Within its beauty it also holds insights of tracking of volcanic activities.

Mauve : A happy accident

Imagine a world where you have to wear the same colour every single day. How gloomy that would be! The modern world is saturated with colours. But there was a time when making colours was a luxurious enterprise. In this article is presented the fascinating and riveting tale of an artificial dye that changed one man’s fate and revolutionised the world we live in.

Rising population: A drawback for India's sustainability

Sustainability is the key to the future of the human race. The rising population exerts pressure on available natural resources and commodities alike. This article briefly discusses the drawbacks faced by India due to the increasing population.

The brain behind an artist’s vision

With the advancement of scientific technologies and methods, we have deciphered a lot about creativity. Yet, we are miles away from unravelling the secrets behind the thoughts that gave birth to some of the most magnificent creations of all time. The article helps us take a peek into the minds of some of the most creative-eccentric people and the physiology behind their creations.

Fishy affair: What drives the fish communities?

This is a science news article that covers a recent study titled “Temporal and environmental drivers of fish-community structure in tropical streams from two contrasting regions in India.” published in the PLOS ONE journal. Lower-order streams are often overlooked when it comes to conservation efforts to preserve fishes This study sheds light on where we might be going wrong.

The Hunger Games: Canine Edition

Dogs are highly intelligent creatures, a fact that scientists and affectionate pet parents can both agree on. They are a fascinating model system for the effects of socialisation on cognitive abilities. Stray dogs are an excellent source of information over pets for the same, as their learning is strongly influenced by their innate cognitive abilities rather than induced conditioning. This article talks about one such study.

സമയത്തിന്റെ ദിശ (The arrow of time)

'ടെനെറ്റ്' എന്ന സിനിമയിൽ നിന്ന് പ്രചോദനം ഉൾക്കൊണ്ട് 'സമയത്തിന്റെ അമ്പടയാളം' മനസിലാക്കാൻ ഈ ലേഖനം ഞങ്ങളെ സഹായിക്കുന്നു. പ്രപഞ്ചത്തെ നിയന്ത്രിക്കുന്ന ഭൗതികശാസ്ത്ര നിയമങ്ങൾ ഉപയോഗിച്ച് മുന്നോട്ടുള്ള ദിശയിലുള്ള സമയതിൻ്റെ യാത്രയെ വിശദീകരികാൻ ശ്രമിക്കുന്നു.

ಸ್ವಯಂ-ಸಂಘಟನೆ ಎಂಬ ಸೋಜಿಗ (Collective Animal Behaviour and Self-Organization)

ಜಗತ್ತಿನ ಬುದ್ಧಿವಂತ ಪ್ರಾಣಿಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಒಂದಾಗಿದ್ದರೂ ಮನುಷ್ಯರು ಗುಂಪಿನಲ್ಲಿನ ಚಲನೆಯನ್ನು ಸರಿಯಾಗಿ ನಿಭಾಯಿಸಲಾರದೆ ಟ್ರಾಫಿಕ್ ಜಾಮ್ಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಸಿಲುಕುವುದನ್ನು ನಾವು ಕಾಣಬಹುದು. ಆದ್ದರಿಂದ ಇರುವೆ, ಹಕ್ಕಿ, ಮೀನುಗಳು ತಮ್ಮ ಸೀಮಿತ ಇಂದ್ರಿಯಗಳ ಸಹಾಯದೊಂದಿಗೆ ಯಾವ ರೀತಿ ಸರಾಗವಾಗಿ ಗುಂಪಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಚಲಿಸುತ್ತವೆ ಎಂಬುದು ಆಸಕ್ತಿದಾಯಕವಾಗಿದೆ. ಈ ರೀತಿಯ ಸರಾಗ ಚಲನೆಗೆ ಒಂದು ಕಾರಣ ಸ್ವಯಂ-ಸಂಘಟನೆ.

লুই ও আশ্চর্য্য বেড়াল

বিংশ শতাব্দীর বিশিষ্ট চিত্রকার লুই ওয়েনের জনপ্রিয়তা তাঁর আঁকা অগুন্তি বেড়াল-চিত্রের সুপাতে। কিন্তু সময়ের সাথে তাঁর ছবিতে বেড়ালের ভূমিকা ও তাৎপর্যের বিপুল বিবর্তন ঘটে। সেই বিবর্তনের আড়ালে লুকিয়ে আছে এক মর্মান্তিক ঘটনা সারি। মানসিক ভারসাম্য ও সামাজিক জীবনের জটিলতায় ঘেরা এক শিল্পীর বেড়াল-প্রেমের কাহিনী কল্পিত এই লেখাটিতে।
20th century painter Louis Wain is known for his amazing cat-paintings. However, the evolution of the role and significance of cats in his paintings follow a poignant trajectory of events in his life. His mental health and the social dynamics surrounding him are re-visited and re-imagined, in this article, through the lens of his obsession with cats.

#WIISER Spotlight | Dr. Anuradha Bhat: The exciting life of a field biologist

Dr. Anuradha Bhat is an Associate Professor at the Department of Biological Sciences, IISER Kolkata. Her research encompasses zoology, stream ecology and behavioural biology. In this interview, she talks about her early days as a field biologist and how she has witnessed the changes in the academic environment of our country, throughout her journey so far.

#WIISER Spotlight | Dr. Keerthi Harikrishnan: Building a career around her life

Dr. Keerthi Harikrishnan is a WoSA independent scientist at the Department. of Biology, IISER Pune. In this electronic interview she talks about her career development journey in both India and abroad.

Looking at Nothing: Investigating The Lights from a Black Hole

Being one of the most advanced theories of its time, (and its past) general theory of relativity (GTR) was viewed as a fundamental necessity to account for the discrepancies in Newtonian gravity. Trying to account for the changing precession of Mercury, Einstein’s theory ended up unleashing hidden (quite literally) monsters in the extreme gravity. Black holes being probably the most famous example of that. This year, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences decided to award the Nobel Prize to two milestones, for the proof of the theory of the very existence of the black hole and ingenious methods to observe them.

The cloud-nine of CRISPR

The article gives a brief overview of one of the most path-breaking discoveries interdisciplinary sciences in the 21st century - the CRISPR-Cas9 system.

The Nobel Prize in Hepatitis C

This year the Nobel Prize came with a lot of joy to the scientific community. On one hand we got CRISPR as a revolutionary discovery, on the other hand, the hope to eliminate the Hepatitis C virus got accelerated. The HCV which killed millions of people worldwide can now be suppressed and that brings a way to get rid of this deadly illness.

Hues across the horizon

An entertaining read about simple observations to deep ruminations on the colors in the sky. The article goes down the memory lane from the simple delights of watching a rainbow to the contributions of Prof. C.V Raman, the first Indian scientist who won the Nobel Prize in 1930 for explaining the scattering of light by molecules.

ସଠିକ୍ ପ୍ରଶ୍ନ

ଏସିଆ ମହାଦେଶରେ ବିଜ୍ଞାନରେ ପ୍ରଥମ ନୋବେଲ ପୁରସ୍କାର ବିଜେତା, ଯାହାଙ୍କର ଆଲୋକ କ୍ଷେତ୍ରରେ ହୋଇଥିବା ଯୁଗାନ୍ତକାରୀ ଗବେଷଣା ଆଜି ମଧ୍ୟ ବହୁ ଗବେଷକଙ୍କ ପାଇଁ ଉଲ୍ଲେଖନୀୟ ସୋପାନ | ବାଲ୍ୟ ଜୀବନରୁ ଅସାଧାରଣ ପ୍ରତିଭାଧାରୀ ମଣିଷ ପରବର୍ତୀ ଜୀବନରେ ସଫଳତାର ଶିଖରରେ ପହଁଚି ଆମ ମାନଙ୍କ ପାଇଁ ଏକ ଆଦର୍ଶ ସାଜିଛନ୍ତି | ଏହି ମହାନ ବୈଜ୍ଞାନିକ ଜଣକ ହେଉଛନ୍ତି ଚନ୍ଦ୍ରଶେଖର ଭେଙ୍କଟ ରମଣ |

Nobel in focus 2020

The Nobel Prize, one of the most prestigious honours in the world, recognizes contributions which have “conferred the greatest benefit on mankind”. Here’s a simplified sneak-peak into the Nobel Prizes 2020.

#WIISER Spotlight | Dr. Anindita Bhadra: Of flawed humans and cultured dogs

They say, ‘Dogs are a man’s best friend.’ Dr. Bhadra is here to tell us that we, as humans, could learn a thing or two from our friends. Dr. Anindita Bhadra is an Associate Professor and the Associate Dean of International Relations and Outreach, at IISER Kolkata. She was the founding chairperson of the Indian National Young Academy of Science (INYAS) and is presently co-chair of the Global Young Academy (GYA). Alongside her research, she is well-known in academia for excelling in multiple roles as a teacher, scientist, mentor, leader, outreach enthusiast and a thespian among other roles. #WIISER is also a brainchild of Dr. Bhadra.

COVID Vaccine: The Promised Strand

Human emotion has a history of notoriety with regards to clouding our judgement and abilities to make reliable predictions. This clouding is inevitable when concerning something as significant as a vaccination for a pandemic. Our task in this article is a twofold one: To identify precisely which of these elements are undesirables, and to then clear the air around the mirage that is the COVID-19 vaccine of them.

The jewels of Simlipal

The wonders and colours of nature are a sight to behold as we present to you our first photo-story about the Simplipal National Park.

Prof. Somnath Dasgupta: Four decades of studying the earth

In a career spanning over more than 40 years and still going strong, Prof Somnath Dasgupta takes us on an unforgettable journey about how he stepped into the field of Earth Sciences and eventually into academia. He shares anecdotes from his many adventures around the world and also shares his experiences as one of the first faculty members at IISER Kolkata.

Menstruation: The cost of being fertile

The article explores ‘menstruation (aka: periods)’ from scientific and cultural perspectives. Menstruation is still considered a taboo subject to discuss. The authors shine light on the origins of misogyny due to lack of understanding of the female reproductive behaviour and also how the gain in the scientific knowledge has led to the emancipation of women.

A Man of Numbers

This is a biographical article on Dattatreya Ramachandra Kaprekar and his works. Although not widely known, the kind of work he did was not only significant but also fascinating and elementary to understand.

করোনা ও দুর্গাপুজো

প্রতিবছর শারদোৎসবের সূচনাকাল আপামর বাঙালির জীবনে নিয়ে আসে উৎসবের আমেজ। কিন্তু এইবছরে করোনা ভাইরাসের প্রকোপ আমাদের কপালে ফেলেছে দুশ্চিন্তার ভাঁজ।প্রত্যেকেই বিগত সাতমাস ঘর-বন্দিদশায় কাটিয়ে অবশেষে চেয়ে আছে আগামী সপ্তাহে নিয়ম বদ্ধ জীবন থেকে সামান্য মুক্তির দিকে। তবে এর মাঝে ভাইরাস কিন্তু বিশ্রাম নিচ্ছে না। এই নতুন জীবনশৈলীর সাথে নিজেদের খাপ খাওয়ানো তুলনামুলকভাবে মুশকিল হলেও অসম্ভব নয়। কি কি পদ্ধতি অবলম্বনে আনন্দ উৎসবের মাঝেও অতিরিক্ত সংক্রমন রোধ করা সম্ভব তা এই পাঠ্যে সংকলিত করা হল।

অথঃ সারমেয় কথা

প্রায় ১১০০০ বছর আগে, আমাদের বর্তমান ঘনিষ্ঠ সঙ্গী কুকুরের আবির্ভাব হয়েছিল, সম্ভবত ধুসর নেকড়ের থেকে। সেই থেকে এখনও, প্রধানত খাদ্য সংগ্রহের উদ্দেশ্যেই আমাদের ধারেকাছে এদের আনাগোনা। তবে মানুষের উপর নির্ভরশীল হলেও এই দুই ভিন্ন প্রজাতির মধ্যে আবার আছে প্রচুর মিল। আমাদের যেমন আছে ঘরবাড়ি, তেমনি তাদের আছে নিজস্ব এলাকা। আমাদের মতো তাদেরও আছে সংসার এবং সেই সংসার ধর্ম পালনের দায়িত্ব। আর তার সাথে আছে প্রতিবেশীদের সাথে নিত্য দন্দ্ব। এই পাঠ্যে তুলে ধরা হল এদেরই রোজনামচার কিছু অংশ।

The Art of Teaching: A Student's Perspective

The education system followed in our country is not without flaws. The current mode of online teaching is causing further setbacks to it, by replacing teachers in classrooms with virtual screens at home. In this article, we try to see how, in the face of all these adversities, a teacher may yet retain his significance in the life of the student.

Book Review — Nanoscale: The biggest “small secrets”

How do labs in our country perform cutting edge research despite financial constraints? Do science and ayurveda go hand in hand? Does scientific innovation crumble under market pressure? Dr. Pankaj Seksharia's ‘Nanoscale’ answers these burning questions and gives us a thorough insight into four of India's leading laboratories.

#WIISER Spotlight | Dr Poonam Thakur: Moving forward, with wisdom from the past

Dr Poonam Thakur, Assistant Professor at IISER Thiruvananthapuram, was fascinated by the intricacies of the Parkinson's Disease during her doctoral research and has decided to delve further into it with her research group now. She spoke to Cogito137 in an email interview, where she talks about the prevailing gender bias in academia and her plans of maintaining an ethical work culture in her lab.

What do scientists really know?

Do the concept of science, and the perception of science disagree? Is science a field that deals with the complete and absolute knowledge of Nature, or should we take scientific ‘breakthroughs’ with a pinch of salt, knowing that it is only valid till it's not? This opinion piece looks at how science in popular culture is at odds with science in reality.

How ‘cool’ is Absolute Zero?

Absolute zero is the lowest temperature theoretically possible which is also practically impossible to achieve. It is the temperature which the Universe is tending to in its theoreised eventual heat death. A number of interesting phenomena occur near this temperature which have intrigued scientists for a century, and it also holds the key to future engineering.

Hilbert’s Quarantine Centre: To infinity and beyond!

This article revisits a classic thought experiment in Mathematics. It explores some of the intricacies of countable infinity and how its definition can be used to achieve seemingly impossible results, and contemplates how useful these results may be in the current pandemic.

Quantum Entanglement: Our ignorance or the Universe's ghost?

A simplistic overview of one of the most startling quantum mechanical phenomena known to exist, one which greatly disconcerted Albert Einstein himself; and a discussion on its consequences regarding our knowledge about the world.

Love paves the path for a strong dog-human bond

A recent study from the Dog Lab, IISER Kolkata challenges the notion that dogs associate themselves with humans solely for seeking food. It shows that affectionate behaviour paves the way for dog-human bonding.

#WIISER Spotlight | Dr. Nisha N. Kannan: Synchronizing work, life and science with time

Dr. Nisha K. Kannan, Assistant Professor, studies 'Chronobiology' in fruit flies, at IISER Thiruvananthapuram. She spoke to Cogito137 over an email interview, where she talks about her tryst with science from an early age to a career in research and how life and society influenced it.

Pandemics as paradigm shifts

Looking back at the European Black Plague as an archetype of a pandemic, which ravaged human lives in the 14th century, and drawing parallels to the coronavirus pandemic of the 21st century.

#WIISER Spotlight | Dr. R. S. Swathi : Where there is a will, there is a way

Dr. R. S. Swathi, Associate Professor, is a theoretical chemist at IISER Thiruvananthapuram. She spoke to Cogito137 over an email interview, where she talks of overcoming different hurdles for securing a higher education in basic sciences and a career in scientific research.

#WIISER Spotlight | Dr. Deepshikha Jaiswal Nagar: Solving new challenges on her way, through a noxious work environment

Dr. Deepshikha Jaiswal Nagar, Assistant Professor, the only woman faculty in the Department of Physics at IISER Thiruvananthapuram, is a condensed matter physicist. She spoke to Cogito137 over an email interview, where she talks of the gender imbalance in her department, trust issues in academia and importance of bracing new problems and challenges in science.

#WIISER Spotlight | Prof. Sumana Annagiri : With curiosity driven science, towards blue-sky research

Dr. Sumana Annagiri joined IISER Kolkata as an Assistant Professor in October 2008. Her lab studies nest-relocation dynamics in an Indian ant species, trying to understand the strategies and priorities involved in the process.

A Girl in the Tunnel

The advent of digital tools has revolutionized art by increasing possibilities for the ones with creative minds. Read on to find out about a harmonious marriage between mathematics and art.

New method of cyanide detection in edibles: devised by The Light Lab, IISER Kolkata

Researchers from IISER Kolkata have produced a simple and cost-effective method of cyanide detection in food and water. This can potentially bring major transformations in the food industry, especially involving seafood.

The COVID-19 lockdown: Our self-induced psychological experiment?

One-third of the world population is currently living in isolation, under enforced lockdowns.The evolutionarily "social" brain of humans can be massively affected through this. Here's why this COVID-19 lockdown may be the biggest psychological experiment that mankind has induced upon itself, and how this will affect us.

#WIISER Spotlight | Prof. Jayasri Das Sarma : On training scientific minds and not just hands

Prof. Jayasri Das Sarma, who works on certain coronaviruses which infect mice models, speaks to Cogito in an electronic interview.

PhD balance - a students' initiative for better mental health in academia

Susanna L Harris in an email conversation with Subhayu Bagchi, talks about being a graduate student herself and leading a successful students' initiative, aiming to provide much needed mental health support to graduate students.

EGFR Signaling: its multiple roles in the symphonic orchestra of insect development

Living things are machines of a sort, run by complex biochemical and molecular pathways. Read on to know about the functioning of one such pathway that plays a pivotal role in the development of fruit flies.

No Cheers for Corona!

The COVID-19 outbreak has befallen the human race and has literally put the entire world on a lock-down. While economies are suffering greatly and the pandemic has contributed to an ‘infodemic’, people are still curious about what is all this buzz about. Read on to understand what coronavirus is, why social-distancing is important and why this should be our wake-up call to stop mis-treating the earth any further.

Open Day at IISER Kolkata

News report on the Open Day at IISER Kolkata where IISER Kolkata opens it's gates to communicate science to the public.

A Scientist's Perspective

Prof. Narayan Banerjee in conversation with Suvadeep Roy, talks about the societal role of science and scientists, simplistic understanding of gravitation and dark matter, the importance of enjoying science and more.

Walking in Königsberg

A story about how Euler gave birth to the graph theory in an attempt to figure out an innovative route, in which a pedestrian would cross each of the seven bridges in the city of Königsberg,only once

Collaborative Science as a Path to the Future

Gone are the days when science used to be a lonesome affair. With increased globalization and emerging interdisciplinary fields, collaborative research is bringing the scientific community closer and also giving rise to mega-projects.

Aerosols - The Main Culprit for Rising Air Pollution over Kolkata

Most Indian metropolitans are infamous for making it to the list of top polluted cities in the world. Scientists at IISER Kolkata have pin-pointed the reason to be aerosols, majorly comprising of Sulphur particles.

The Show Must Go On

Rise of political turmoil across the globe has dampened climate change action-plans, which looked promising till the last year. While humans are busy fighting other humans, the arch-enemy of our kind is gaining strength.

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